M2M Day 380: The pursuit of pursuits

Max Deutsch
2 min readNov 16, 2017


This post is part of Month to Master, a 12-month accelerated learning project. For October, my goal is to defeat world champion Magnus Carlsen at a game of chess.

Two days ago, I showed that my algorithmic chess approach is actually workable. It’s still not quite finished, but it does and can work, which is quite exciting.

Right now, my computer is working away on V2 of the algorithm and it’s looking like the performance of this version is going to be better.

I’m going to officially end this challenge and the entire project on Friday, so I’m not sure I’ll be defeating Magnus at chess before then.

Even if I don’t complete this challenge in the next two days, the past six weeks have been particularly exciting for me:

  1. I pioneered a new way to learn and play chess (and validated that it has potential), hopefully impacting the future of chess in some capacity.
  2. I developed a much stronger practical understanding of the end-to-end data science and machine learning process, which will serve me very well moving forward.
  3. I discovered a much deeper appreciation for the game of chess and for the ongoing dedication of the world’s top players to the game. I finally understand the beauty of the game, and will certainly continue playing chess the normal, non-algorithmic way reasonably regularly.
  4. I made some interesting friends in the chess community, which I’ll talk more about on Friday.

Overall, a very successful “unsuccessful” challenge.

In other words, while I might not succeed at reaching my particular goal (of defeating Magnus), I was successful in using this goal to propel myself into a new space, to find a new source of intellectual joy, and to flex my creative and technical muscles in pursuit of the goal.

This point is important: Don’t measure the quality of your life by the outcomes, but by the pursuit of those outcomes.

If you optimize for and value the pursuit, favorable outcomes will follow anyway, even if they aren’t the outcomes you planned for.

If you only value the outcomes, you will miss out on most of the pleasures of your life — since we spend most (all) of our life in pursuit.

Read the next post. Read the previous post.

Max Deutsch is an obsessive learner, product builder, guinea pig for Month to Master, and founder at Openmind.

If you want to follow along with Max’s year-long accelerated learning project, make sure to follow this Medium account.